August 18 2009-Daily Journal
This coming Sunday's Sunday School lesson:
James 4:1-17. First section: James 4:1-5 →This is why James never could last as pastor of a Baptist church. He's direct here, pointing out why the church has problems. Why does the church have problems? Because of people. Specifically, the people that go to church there. Now, if you're a church-going person and you just thought of 5 names that you think cause all the problems in your church, add your name to the list. Now, you're mad at me for blaming you. But it's my fault as well. The problems in most churches fit exactly what James is saying here. It's not the devil or demons or the world that undermines the ability of the church to do what we should. It's us. The cravings within us, whether they be for visible things or invisible, money or approval, control or self-esteem, take a church down. We desire a more exciting sermon, so we murmur against the preacher. We want things done our way, and so fear allowing anyone else to take responsibility. We don't want to get to know people, so we resist reaching our communities. We want to be liked and respected in our communities, so we don't stick out by standing for holiness. We ignore James 4:4 as if it's not even there. You cannot be both the friend of the world and the friend of God. As believers, our problems aren't rooted in a lack of relevance or coolness, a holding of tradition or rejecting of it, but in the fact that we are attempting the impossible. We have tried for decades to ignore this, and have taught a whole generation that should have become passionate believers to try and balance friendship with the world and with God, rather than teaching them that it is hard to be a Christian. That it is hard to be alienated. That, sometimes, it's hard to go to church. But that we have a God in heaven to be obeyed, not our own friendships to be pleased.
Proverbs 18:2 →It is foolish to assume that we understand everything, and even more to only show off our own opinions. When there are people or resources available to assist, do we resist them? Do we wish to only show off ourselves?
Proverbs 18:6 →Yet the wise show restraint in giving that beating. Instead, typically another fool will do it.
Proverbs 18:9 →How about me? Am I lazy in my work, or am I legitimately tired? I know my own heart. You know yours. Where are we here? Destroying through laziness?
Proverbs 18:11 →HCSB says in his imagination it is like a high wall . Now, I'm all about a good imagination. It's great when reading or when kids are playing. This isn't really a good imagination. It's that flight-of-fancy, where I imagine myself coaching an Upward Flag Football team, and get noticed for my remarkable coaching skills, and find myself helping out the Razorbacks. Or my idea that, since Jerry Jones really wants to run the Cowboys himself through a puppet coach, I'd make a good head coach for the Dallas Cowboys. That imagination.
Proverbs 18:14 →Don't crush another's spirit. Really.
Proverbs 18:17 →This ought to be tattooed across every lawyer in America. Probably just for the fun of it. But it's important to remember. The first person to talk about a situation almost always sounds right. Reserve judgment until you hear the other side. And be especially leery of those who don't want the other side heard at all.
Proverbs 18:22 →Even better if he finds his wife, and not somebody else's. An excellent wife is the greatest gift God gives a man after salvation. And, gentleman, guess what? If she's the wife you've got, she's the wife God gave you. So, encourage her and strengthen her into that excellence.
Psalm 67:1-2 →God, bless us that Your salvation be known. Not that our righteousness be seen or that we will be blessed, but that all people will know You. God does not bless the American church with the resources we have just to make us look good. We have these things so that we may pour out His Word to all people, that we will be the beautiful feet (Romans 10:9-15). And yet we buy $3 cups of coffee while children go to bed hungry and lost? When God judges the nations with fairness, Psalm 67:4, we might be in trouble. Because, in all fairness, have we done what we ought?
1 Peter 4:7 →The end is near! Which is true. Near, in the scope of eternity. It's a fair assumption that all of us are within 100 years of the end. And the few who live past the age of 100 won't live much longer on this earth. So, with the end pushing down on us quickly, what should we do? Be clear headed, sound in our judgment, and praying. Praying that God would use us before the end. Praying that we may make Him known to the world around us!